Saturday, June 2, 2012

Celebrating birthdays at the track a Petty family tradition

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
Today, June 2nd, is Kyle Petty’s birthday, and he’ll do what he usually does on a Saturday: talk about NASCAR. Petty is at the point where birthdays aren’t dreaded or anticipated. “It’s just another day and you gotta get up in the morning and you gotta go to work and that’s the way it is,” he said. “But it’s a fun day, no matter what.” How will he celebrate his birthday this year? With the simple pleasure of going for a ride on his motorcycle between work responsibilities.

Growing up, the family birthday tradition he remembers most is being in Daytona for his dad’s birthday on July second, back when they used to run the Daytona race on the 4th of July. “You never knew where we were gonna be on my mother’s birthday or my sisters’ birthdays or on my birthday, but for my father’s birthday we were always at Daytona.” With three birthdays - Kyle’s, one of his sister’s and his dad’s - all falling close together, it was a big month for celebrating.

Kyle and his wife, Pattie, made birthdays memorable for their kids, too. The birthday boy or girl got to decide how to celebrate. “Whether it was pancakes that look like horses because Montgomery Lee liked that or if it was somewhere for dinner that Adam wanted to go or Austin wanted to go, that is what everybody did.”

Given the choice of doing anything he wanted on his birthday, Kyle describes his ideal, favorite day: “Sit on a beach somewhere and not move all day long – from twelve midnight to twelve midnight!”

For this writer, an ideal birthday would be to spend the day trackside with people who love racing … and maybe talk with Kyle Petty on our birthday. And it was an honor to do just that.

Beth Bence Reinke writes "Gibbs Garage," Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup team recaps, for the 2012 season. Her Skirts and Scuffs column, “Faith on the Frontstretch,” explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth is the author of Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a devotional book geared toward female NASCAR fans. Follow Beth on Twitter at @bbreinke or reach her at


  1. Carol D'AgostinoJune 2, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Nice Beth! Have a great rest of your birthday.